Team Giant Report, Australia World Cup #8Tuesday, September 02, 2008
By Olympian & DRHS graduate Adam Craig: Being an Olympian is quite possibly the highest overall sporting honor I will ever have the opportunity to achieve. That said, holy hell did it feel good to step off the plane in Sydney to be greeted by a fresh, cool, Southern Hemisphere spring breeze and know that I was going to spend the week decompressing and doing some proper fun mountain biking...
Which is exactly what we did. Rando, his dad Lou, little sister Chessie (Squid), his long time riding buddy and former Junior DH World Champ Ben Cory, Tom and I immediately took off on an evening ride on Canberra's local trails. It felt sooo good to be out riding on a crisp evening with guys who know that flow that we all seek with our riding of bikes on some trails through the Majura Pines that promote exactly that About ten minutes in we stopped to check out the Australian postcard setting of a dry meadow with a dozen Kangaroos and Joeys cruising around eating dinner... We were pretty excited, not knowing that we'd end up seeing plenty more by the end of the ride... Actually almost running into a few as our respectively bouncing paths crossed, in fact...
But, all this sappy evening riding stuff behind, we should get to the meat of this week. Sleep. Good shades and cool evenings at the hotel, preceded by DELICIOUS dinners cooked by Rando's Mom, Sonia. There was some serious catching up on rest going on. Serious. Maybe a bit too serious, as when the gun finally went off on Saturday's XC race I was pretty much still asleep. I faked it for a while, chasing Roel Paulissen around for tenth (and by chasing I mean pinning the 50% of the track that involved good skills and metered leg strength in between soft pedaling the "hard" bits) for the first two laps, then faded into the reality of not being able to pedal very hard. This left plenty of strength for the dozen or so shortcut options that had been engineered into the track for those with good skills. Whether those be jumping skills, rock hopping skills or corner drifting skills. All good, fun, "Mountain Bike" skills that should be rewarded in each and every race with options such as these. I guess I'll take my lucky thirteenth position, which I earned in a "sprint" with Liam Killeen, considering how much worse it would have been if we'd just had the classic up and down World Cup track... Good work, crew at Mt Stromlo, for creating a very interesting, very unique race track. It'll be sweet to come back here next September to race the World Championships with fresh, fast legs and an Anthem X that I REALLY know how to ride.
Oh, and, much to our delight, the Canberra organizers pointed out (the old fashioned way, with CASH), the fact that us XCers are generally still around on Sunday with nothing to do but watch DH or ride local trails by putting on a Short Track race with $4000 on the line for the win. Surprisingly, most of the World Cup riders entered... Money talks. So does a sweet, super tight course around the Downhill Finish area. A few jumps, some good berms and a few thousand spectators who were milling around waiting out the intermission between Downhill Qualifying and Finals. Oh, and it was RAINING! Pretty hard. Normally the Canberra locals are stoked on rain and make it a point to go riding in it, as it knocks down the dust and ups the cornering G Forces to a whole 'nother level... This was a bit much rain though. Anytime XC bikes are roosting in a similar fashion to Motorbikes it's a definite sign of a shitstorm. Fortunately my mothballed Michelin Green Meenie's did just the trick. I rode smart(ish), biding my time for the first ten minutes and making sure I could hit all the sweet doubles, then rode through the chase group, which contained our British counterpart, Oli Beckinsale, to set off in pursuit of Jose Antoino Hermida. I didn't quite catch him, but at least my legs worked right, I got a bunch of compliments on the Serpicos and made a couple grand for the Snomobile fund. Skiing this winter is going to be off the Hizzy!
The Australians know how to party. Ben and the local crew put on a little get-together at a local pub that was fairly entertaining. I was hoping Hermida would be there so I could shit-talk him about how I was going to erase his 90 point lead at Schladming and reclaim an World Cup Overall Podium placing, but, alas, he was at home in bed... My smack had to be directed to American DH honch Luke Strobel, who I'm pretty sure I initially bet my Short Track prize money that I'd beat at the last Fluidride Cup Downhill event at Mount Hood in a few weeks. That bet inflated a bit over the course of the evening... Hopefully he forgets... Or I'm not going to be able to afford that snowsled after he smokes me and takes all my money... We'll just have to wait and see.
Anyway, I'm on the fourteen hour flight home from Sydney right now, some serious high-country singlespeeding and various other recreating will fill the ten days I have at home before heading to Austria for the weekend to contest World Cup #9, which happens to be the last one. Awesome
Thanks for reading...
Here's a little tidbit that's allegedly going to be in the Sunday Times... I'm so relieved that Carl could Keep It Real while I was chasing the Olympic Dream... Smart man, that Carl...
Oli at Srromio